Having problems with your computer and IT support is off line? Don’t worry; the most common PC problems are easy to fix yourself, so why not have a go and save yourself some time and money.
Save and back up your files
If you are able to do so, save all your current work and ensure that all your files are backed up. This will ensure that if anything goes wrong then nothing will be lost.
You would be surprised how many computer problems can be solved with a power cycle. Power cycle is tech speak for switching it off and switching it on again. It is the number one cure for not only computer problems but just about everything that uses electronics. The crucial bit is to switch it off, then wait for a few seconds before switching it on again.
First try shutting it down using windows. If that doesn’t work then try to switch it off by holding down the power button. If that doesn’t do the trick, then switch it off at the mains, but if you do wait at least fifteen seconds before you switch it on again.
If you are having problems switching off your laptop, then the best way is to remove the battery.
Computer and internet running too slow?
One of the most common problems is a general slowdown of your internet connection and computer. There are many possible causes, but the most common one is that your computer and internet connection is being hijacked by malware.
The first thing to do is a virus scan. Ensure that your anti-virus software is up to date and scan all your files. Check if there are any problems and request your anti-virus software to fix or quarantine them. If it is unable to do so, make a note of any infections and search the web for fixes; there are certain to be some suggestions you can follow. Not everything can run from the cloud.
Once you have eliminated any viruses, check for spyware and adware. You can download anti-spyware software such as “Spybot search and destroy” for free and use it to do what it says on the tin. It will get rid of most problems, but if the spyware has hijacked your browser, for instance by changing your search and start page settings, then you will need to go into options and change them manually.
Clean up your files and registry
Over time computers collect a huge amount of rubbish, often in the form of intrusive cookies, unwanted software, stray dll files, and windows registry errors. Fortunately there several free computer cleansers that you can download for free and which will fix most problems.
One that works very well is CCleaner. It will analyse your computer and then give you several cleaning option such as removing temporary files, cache, log files and so forth. It will also scan your registry errors and offer to fix them. If you need to fix registry files ensure that you back up your registry before doing so. CCleaner will guide you through the process so that if anything goes wrong, then you can at least go back to where you started from.
Carry out a system restore
A system restore allows you to go back to the state of your computer before it started going wrong, but it won’t change any data so you shouldn’t lose any recent work. It is very simple to do and you can access system restore in various ways depending on your version of windows, for instance in Windows 7 just search for System Restore in the search box.
When you run the program you will see available restore points and their dates; select the last one when your computer was working in the wizard. After the process is complete your computer will restart and will tell you if the process was successful.
Start in safe mode
You can start Windows in safe mode which uses only the basic drivers so that you can check if any drivers are preventing Windows starting correctly. If it does start up in safe mode then at least you know the basic Window drivers are fine. You can start in safe mode by pressing the F8 key when your start the computer before the Windows screen appears.
There are various things that you can do in safe mode, for instance you can perform a system recovery, you can update drivers, and you can remove programmes which might be causing problems.
If that doesn’t work then you can edit the registry, but that’s beginning to get dangerous, so now is probably the time to get hold of IT support.
Image credits: Grant Cochrane – FreeDigitalPhotos.net